New details — and charges — have emerged about the state’s five-hour shutdown of Grimaldi’s last week over unpaid taxes: the pizzeria owed as much as $165,000.
But the cash-only restaurant is back in good stead with the state taxman, authorities said late Friday.
When state officials made their now famous shutdown of the internationally renowned DUMBO pizzeria on Wednesday at around noon, about 20 customers were chowing down on Grimaldi’s beloved coal-oven pies. The taxation officials went “right to the register” and spoke with restaurant managers, said a law enforcement source. Meanwhile, a locksmith changed the locks.
Diners were allowed to finish their meals in peace,” the source said.
“They let one lady who ordered food beforehand pick it up,” the source added. “They put a sign on the door that says ‘seizure’ like they’re seizing the property right there, and they let the host stand outside and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to be open around 3.’”
State tax officials originally said the restaurant and its parent company, Patabbe, Inc., owed about $150,000 in sales taxes and paycheck withholding dating back to 2006, but the amount rose to $165,261.
The restaurant was allowed to reopen at 5 pm and both sides came to a settlement soon after.
“We can’t disclose the terms of those agreements, but we’re happy that it was settled,” said state tax department spokesman Tom Bergin.
“Seizure of a business as an action is a last resort for us,” Bergin said. “It doesn’t do us any good, it doesn’t do the businessman any good, and it doesn’t do the community any good to have the business closed, so it’s always better for us to find some way to settle the issue and allow the business to reopen. We like happy endings.”
Owner Frank Ciolli had told The Brooklyn Paper that the discrepancy was just “some kind of accounting error.”
“I’m not at liberty to give you details because my accountant would be upset with me,” Ciolli added. “People make mistakes.”
“It was a couple of hours’ interruption” and “no big deal,” he added.